Maryland Unions Hire Convict as State Lobbyist

A Md. state lobbyist released from federal custody two weeks ago after serving a sentence for a felony fraud conviction is wasting little time in returning to work. Gerard E. Evans said May 25 that he has registered with the Md. State Ethics Comm’n to represent five clients in Annapolis and expects to sign up several more soon. His clients include the Baltimore chapters of the state’s largest police union, plus Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, the Prince George’s County and groups of Md. horse trainers and horse breeders.

Evans was convicted in 2000 of fraud for scheming to win lobbying fees from out-of-town companies by misrepresenting or exaggerating the threat of legislation that would have hurt the companies. He was sentenced to thirty months in federal prison, but was transferred to a halfway house in Washington after less than a year in custody in Cumberland, Md. His sentence was reduced by a year when he agreed to complete a drug and alcohol abuse program, and he was released from custody May 10.

Evans misconduct gave rise to a new state law which includes a provision that lobbyists convicted of ethics violations cannot return to lobbying. But that measure does not apply to Evans because his conviction preceded the new law. Some lawmakers saw no problem with Evans returning to work now that he has served his sentence. “He is complying with the law,” said Md. House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. (D).  [Baltimore Sun 5/26/02]

Jury Acquits Cincinnati Boss of $8,600 Reimbursement Scheme
Emmanuel Graham, ex-president of Am. Fed’n of Gov’t Employees Local 2031 in Cincinnati, was acquitted May 16 on 14 misdemeanor counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 641. Graham was charged in June 2001 in a 32 count indictment charging violations of 18 U.S.C. § 287 by filing false claims for travel and per diem with the Veterans Admin. when he had already been reimbursed for those expenses by the local and 16 counts of violating § 641 for theft of government money corresponding to those claims. The alleged conduct ran from Apr. 1997 to June 2000; the amount in questions as $8,608.63. Pursuant to an agreement, Graham was tried on the misdemeanor charges only and the felony charges were dropped at the conclusion of the court proceedings before U.S. Magis. Judge Jack Sherman, Jr. (S.D. Ohio). [USAO S.D. Ohio 6/3/02; DOL 5/16/02]

San Francisco Boss to Sentenced for Bank Robbery
U.S. Dist. Judge D. Lowell Jensen (N.D. Cal., Reagan) sentenced Rick L. Davis, former president of the Nat’l Air Traffic Controllers Ass’n’s San Francisco Local to 51 months in prison on May 24 for a 2000-01 bank robbery spree that netted nearly $40,000. Davis, termed the “Robust Robber” by police because of his stocky build, apologized for his crimes in court. He pled guilty Oct. 26 to six counts of bank robbery after undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. In exchange for his plea, two more bank robbery counts and a third count for an attempted heist were dismissed. . The case drew national attention because of Davis’ job as an airtraffic controller and his position at the time as president of the local union. Jensen also ordered Davis to pay about $36,000 in restitution to the banks he robbed and told to surrender on July 24 to begin serving his sentence.

He told police that he started robbing banks to help pay for airline tickets for his children to visit him. Davis said he also needed money to keep up with the cost of living in the Bay Area and to pay medical bills stemming from a 1996 collision with a cow in Hawaii, where he had been living with his wife and two sons. Davis later divorced and filed for bankruptcy.

Clad in a dark suit and light slacks, Davis asked the judge for leniency, saying his oldest son will soon be attending college and that other relatives need him to be close by. Davis’ attorney, Randy S. Pollock, also asserted that he should receive a lighter sentence because of “diminished capacity” stemming from brain damage sustained from the cow accident. Davis blamed his actions on a lack of control and depression. The judge noted that at work, Davis “coped very well. He was a good air traffic controller.” [S.F. Chron. 5/24/02]